Corporal punishment as a stressor among youth.



This article addresses the impact of corporal punishment by parents on the psychological well-being of youth. The present research used the National Youth Victimization Prevention Study (NYVPS), a nationally representative sample of 1,042 boys and 958 girls, ages 10-16. Based on a stress-process framework, we examine: (a) the effects of frequency of corporal punishment experienced by youth ages 10-16 on psychological distress and clinically relevant depression and (b) the moderating influence of parental support on the associations between corporal punishment and psychological outcomes. Controlling for sociodemographic factors and physical abuse, our findings indicate a positive association between the frequency of corporal punishment and both psychological distress and depression. Although distress is greatest at higher frequencies of punishment, the association is also present at low and moderate levels of corporal punishment. An interaction between corporal punishment and parental support was also evident, showing that the impact of frequent punishment relative to no corporal punishment was greater in the context of high parental support.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and Family



Document Type